According to sources who spoke with Iran Nuances, General Ali-Akbar Ahmadian, a prominent Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, is poised to replace Ali Shamkhani as the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
Ahmadian, who currently serves as a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, is expected to be appointed and formally introduced as Shamkhani’s successor in the very near future, which could be as early as tomorrow.
General Ahmadian, also a dentist, holds a master’s degree in Defense Studies and a doctorate in Strategic Management from the National Defense University. His military career encompasses a tenure as the commander of the IRGC Navy from 1997 to around 2000, followed by his leadership of the Joint Staff of the IRGC from 2000 to 2007. Subsequently, Ahmadian directed the Strategic Center of the IRGC for several years.
During the Iran-Iraq war, Ahmadian was recognized as one of the senior commanders of the IRGC and held the critical responsibility of overseeing the headquarters of the Noah camp.
Ali Shamkhani, the longstanding secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, on Sunday night, announced his departure from the post after a decade of tenure. In a poetic flourish, Shamkhani took to Twitter to share a verse by esteemed Iranian poet Mohtasham Kashani, subtly conveying his departure. This revelation followed a period of conjecture and hearsay surrounding his potential exit from the role.
Appointed by former president Hassan Rouhani on September 10, 2013, Ali Shamkhani succeeded Saeed Jalili as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. Assuming helm of the secretariat during a critical period, the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group had been delegated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Mohammad Javad Zarif’s purview. While the determination of the scope, boundaries, and methods of nuclear negotiations rested with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ultimate responsibility for major guidelines and policy formulation in the nuclear arena remained with the Supreme National Security Council, chaired by the president of Iran.
Shamkhani’s political career includes a bid for the presidency in Iran’s eighth presidential election, where he ultimately placed third, conceding the race to Seyyed Mohammad Khatami and runner-up Ahmad Tawakli. However, Khatami subsequently nominated Shamkhani as his proposed defense minister, a position to which he was re-appointed in Khatami’s second cabinet.
Born on September 29, 1955, in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, Ali Shamkhani hails from a family of Iranian Arab origin. As his ten-year tenure draws to a close, the implications of his departure, and replacement by Ahmadian, for Iran’s national security landscape remain to be seen.
Shamkhani announced his departure as Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi is set to travel to Indonesia on Monday, May 22, for a two-day visit.